I’ve written a great deal about at my work- which is helping failing college students and preventing college problems- at my College Strategy Blog. This last year has been very busy, and I apologize for not posting here more often. The Student Strategy Blog is intended to focus more on college preparation for high school students. As I am learning, the subjects of college problems and college preparation during high school are inextricably intertwined. Many of the students I work with in college were high-achieving students in high school, yet despite all “predictors” like their GPA and SAT scores, they did poorly or outright failed once they got to college. I plan on overlapping subjects of high school preparation and college failure at both blogs in the future, since one cannot be considered without the other.
As a brief update on my work:
I am working with parents and students across the U.S., and currently have students and families in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, D.C., New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. The world is certainly a much smaller place than it used to be, and I’m hoping that parents will feel free to reach out to me if needed.
I’ve dealt with many colleges in the last year at various levels, either from having a student actively attending, transferring, applying, or being accepted. Some of these colleges include the Universities of Alabama, Colorado, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, New York, Virginia, and Maryland; George Washington, Sacred Heart, Hofstra, Adelphi, Carnegie-Mellon, Butler, Duquesne, Rochester Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UCLA, Wittenberg, Kenyon, Carlow, Holyoke, Columbia Chicago, Fordham, Columbia, and many others.
My work deals with some specific areas:
College Failure, Turn Around, and Re-Entry
I’ve helped many students who have begun to do poorly in college improve their grades, or even find a new college when they have done poorly. Surprisingly, the majority of these students were the “bright” ones in high school who should have succeeded. Some have found new colleges or even gone from below a 2.0 GPA to the Dean’s List. I have a few that are now in their Senior year and are about to graduate, and I’m very proud of them.
High Potential But Under-performing Students
Students with above average or exceptional abilities are not insulated from college problems because of their natural talents. They can end up under-performing in some way, get stuck, or even become paralyzed when having to choose a career direction or decide on graduate school. I have a number of high potential students that fell below the 3.0 GPA required for their department and found they made it very far just on natural ability and actually had few true academic skills. Adding “tweaks” to what they’re doing can often improve their GPA enough to keep them on their path.
Many students are not clear on what career pathways might fit them, or what to do after graduation with their current major. While most colleges can offer career assessment, these tests are only one element for overall planning. There are many known trends, both at the national and global level, and students must consider these when planning for their future. Career Mentoring considers a student’s interests, skills, any assessments, and puts these in to the context of what they should consider for the future. In some cases, a career pathway may include attending graduate school, identifying internships, or post-graduation preparation for licensure. In other cases, entrepreneurship should be part of what they consider to tap in to their creative abilities. Ultimately, Career Mentoring is meant to help students identify a major and school that will lead them to a field that they will find satisfying.
Transition-To-College for Students With Disabilities:
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of transition-to-college efforts for students with a disability. I work predominantly with non-physical disabilities, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and similar conditions. College accommodations are not automatic for students with disabilities, even if they had a 504 plan or IEP in high school. Colleges get to set their own threshold for who merits accommodations and who does not. Finding the right school that a student with a disability will succeed at can make the difference between success or outright failure. I’ve had many students with a disability who went to college and did poorly there because they picked the wrong school to attend, were not granted the accommodations they needed, or had too little support once there.
My college supports for students with a disability also includes help for students who cannot attend regular classes. Students who want to go to college but have agoraphobia, severe social anxiety, or other conditions can often succeed in college by taking online or self-study classes. Due to the highly independent nature of these types of classes, they may need extra support while using these formats.
A very special case for students with a disability is when a student will be restarting school after being discharged from an inpatient or residential setting. I have the particular background to help these students, since I understand both the academic and clinical aspects needed to help them succeed.
I routinely consult with parents on a broad variety of issues pertaining to high school and college. In many instances, the student need not participate, since we’re working at the “parental planning” level. Very often parents want help with routine college searches or to help identify colleges that might be good for a student with a disability. In other cases, a parent may be taking the first step toward helping a student get re-started in college, or to develop a re-entry plan for a student that has below a 2.0 GPA. Planning for special situations like a student returning to college after discharge from an inpatient or residential setting are other reasons that parents contact me, and that I am qualified to help them with.
Services For Colleges:
I’ve consulted with some colleges to help them improve their own efforts at helping students. This type of consultation can be about establishing or improving retention efforts (especially at small colleges) or training and supporting new staff. Sometimes newly appointed managers or Directors of disability services or retention programs need to understand more thoroughly what factors must be considered when trying to help students. This type of training is also available for new staff in disability or retention departments.
I want to thank all the readers of Student Strategy Blog. I hope to share more about my work during this coming year. For more information about my work and helping students who have done poorly in college, please visit collegestrategyblog.com.
Jeffrey Ludovici, M.A., is a national-level higher education consultant based in Pittsburgh. He has worked with students, families, colleges, and other professionals for more than 10 years. He specializes in understanding why students can end up doing poorly in college, as well as what can be done to address the issues.